Spore is a game created by Will Wright, a legend in the business. You may recognize some of his other creations, such as Sim City. The game plays homage to science but is not faithful to in an attempt to make the game fun to play.
In case you missed the hype, players start the game as microbes. They spawn pincers and flagella and swim to shore, “evolving” into a complex multi-celled organism that later becomes tribal, then builds cities and spaceships and finally colonises inhospitable planets and strives for galactic domination.
Actually evolving a creature may only take hours, yet the timeline will describe the process as having taken billions of years. On the other hand, the game’s evolution doesn’t rely on random natural selection and creatures evolve linearly, whereas in real life there are many branches on the tree of life.
Wright himself admits that making a great game – not absolute faithfulness to scientific knowledge – has to be the priority. But he told me later that: “We only break science with good reason.”
Overall, it is a fun engaging game which we recommend. It will force you to at least think about the processes involved in evolution. The only part of Spore which we found to be a negative is the space stage – it takes a long time, and certain tasks need to be done repetitively and manually which should be automated. At that point, gameplay becomes more of a chore. However, it’s easy to start a new round and find a different niche to explore and not be bored.